Best ~$600 USB DAC?
Mar 1, 2014 at 10:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

TooPoor

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I'm on the search for the best 'cheap' DAC ~$600. I've read all the threads. I haven't heard any of the following though. I've gone back and forth in my head with the following:
 
1. Concero: Always heard great things. Don't need the 'HD'.
2. Herus: Haven't heard much about it as just a DAC. It's dedicated thread speaks about it's amp(ing) abilities more than as a DAC.
3. Schiit Modi: $109 shipped! Is it that much worse than a Bifrost?
4. Schiit Uber Bifrost: New from Amazon: $570. B-Stock on Amazon @ $529 shipped w/ taxes (thanks Cali). Is it truly a giant killer?
5. Other: What else is out there that you like? Maybe a used DAC to look out for?
 
Just looking for your personal opinions. This will accompany my new Project Ember and HE-500's.
 
Mar 2, 2014 at 5:13 AM Post #3 of 18

RonaldDumsfeld

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Mar 2, 2014 at 5:31 AM Post #4 of 18

music_man

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why a recording interface Ronald? you know what I am going to say. you can get it for $650 if $50 is not a deal breaker. maybe less. hint:ud-501. check my threads. at that price you can throw $400 of parts into it and it might become the last dac you want. my opinion is it wil blow away anything else at that price and perhaps up to $2,500. I know I sound like an advertisement already but after I modded it I was stunned. before I did it was worth every penny.
 
Mar 2, 2014 at 8:02 AM Post #5 of 18

Snips

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I've only owned the Bifrost Uber among the stuff in the poll, so I won't downright tell you to pick one over the other. However one thing to consider about the Bifrost Uber is that it's upgradeable, so when Schiit comes up with a better design in the future you can just order that one and swap the card in yourself. 
 
Mar 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM Post #6 of 18

Spiral Out

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From what I have read the Bifrost Uber is supposed to be an awesome Dac. The standard Bifrost may not be a huge upgrade over the Modi but the Uber is supposed to blow it away.
 
Mar 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM Post #7 of 18

Byrnie

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  I'm on the search for the best 'cheap' DAC ~$600. I've read all the threads. I haven't heard any of the following though. I've gone back and forth in my head with the following:
 
1. Concero: Always heard great things. Don't need the 'HD'.
2. Herus: Haven't heard much about it as just a DAC. It's dedicated thread speaks about it's amp(ing) abilities more than as a DAC.
3. Schiit Modi: $109 shipped! Is it that much worse than a Bifrost?
4. Schiit Uber Bifrost: New from Amazon: $570. B-Stock on Amazon @ $529 shipped w/ taxes (thanks Cali). Is it truly a giant killer?
5. Other: What else is out there that you like? Maybe a used DAC to look out for?
 
Just looking for your personal opinions. This will accompany my new Project Ember and HE-500's.

It's actually $470 for the Uber without USB and $529 for the Uber + USB.
 
Mar 3, 2014 at 10:31 PM Post #8 of 18

Maxvla

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Concero easily. Owned the non-Uber Bifrost and it's significantly worse. I doubt an Uber upgrade could bridge the gap. Herus was meh when I heard it, though I used it only as a complete unit, not as DAC only. Modi is great for the budget, but the others are much better, even the Herus.
 
Mar 4, 2014 at 6:25 AM Post #10 of 18

RonaldDumsfeld

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What are you looking for TooPoor?
 
Are you aware that if two reasonably recent DACs can be distinguished from one another by ear alone at least one of them is either broken, badly designed or intended to function as an EQ or channel strip rather than an interface? I know this might sound incredible (sic) but it's true. 
 
I mean,  it's your money so you are entitled to spend it as you wish but be warned that the gear you are looking at is very limited in functionality as as such offers poor value for money in absolute terms.
 
Why not get something with greater functionality, better build quality, ongoing support esp. re drivers, included software package etc.
 
Jul 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM Post #11 of 18

amigastar

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I have the Concero non HD version and i have to say he isn't muddy or muffled in any kind of way.
On the contrary it's a really crisp dac but damn enjoyable anyway.
So Concero gets my voice.
 
Jul 29, 2014 at 6:38 PM Post #12 of 18

LCfiner

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The thing with those pro interface units is that, well, they're really ugly. No big deal for people who need the features but the cluttered faces with lots of knobs and such are overkill for consumer use. It's a harder sell than something that looks slick and simple to operate like the bifrost or concero.

Maybe one could meet in the middle with the emotiva dc-1. You get more inputs including analog, multiple outputs, decent headphone amp and excellent volume control as a preamp. It's a little busy looking compared to others on this list but not to the same level as some of the other studio gear.
 
Jul 30, 2014 at 6:29 AM Post #13 of 18

RonaldDumsfeld

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'ugly'?    'cluttered'?    'overkill'?  'busy'?  I think not sir.  ' looks slick and simple to operate'  from where I am sitting. Matter of opinion of course.
 
Sep 18, 2014 at 9:24 PM Post #15 of 18

TimSchirmer

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I've tried a few in this price range and really like my Meridian director. If I needed a headphone amp built in, I'd probably consider a Benchmark DAC1 in this range. If you use Macs, the Apogee Duet is also a nice option.
 

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